In the United States, more than 20% of the women in menopause are diagnosed with hypothyroidism – a sluggish thyroid. Women need to understand the consequences of menopause on the thyroid, as with the increase in age, more women are affected by hypothyroidism. Menopause and hypothyroidism have common symptoms, such as depressed mood, decreased energy and decreased memory, among others. Often these symptoms are taken to be due to menopause, leading to delayed diagnosis of hypothyroidism.
Hormones in women’s bodies are balanced delicately and hormonal imbalance occurs during pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause. In the time leading up to menopause, the clockwork menstrual cycles may begin to become erratic. This could be because of highs and lows in estrogen and progesterone.
Hypothyroidism, which is seven times more often associated with women than with men, also occurs because of hormonal imbalance. Certain doctors feel that estrogen dominance – excess of estrogen combined with low progesterone – typically occurs in early perimenopause. They feel restricting estrogen dominance prevents complications in perimenopause, including hypothyroidism. In fact, estrogen is required to be counterbalanced with progesterone to avoid hypothyroidism.
Treatment Options of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism – the under-active thyroid is primarily due to the underproduction of the thyroid’s main hormone – Thyroxine (T4). This hormone has to be converted to the active thyroid – the Triiodothyronine (T3), by the liver. Then only it can be effectively utilized by the body. Different practitioners have their own ways of tackling hypothyroidism.
Most prescribe Synthroid, Levoxyl or Levothyroxine – the synthetic T4 – for hypothyroidism. This is fine, if women are capable of converting this T4 into T3. For others, who are poor converters, Cytomel – a synthetic T3 – is prescribed to covert their low T3.
Many women do not believe in synthetic hormones for treating their hypothyroidism, and relieve their symptoms with nutrition, exercise, stress-relieving techniques and such natural treatments. Rich nutrition is the basis of hormonal balance. Rich nutrition should consists of:
Multivitamins and/or minerals
Essential fatty acids
Calcium and/or magnesium
Such essential nutrients, when supplementing a healthy eating plan, support the body’s endocrine, immune and other vital systems.
Some doctors recommend using a progesterone cream for treatment of hypothyroidism. Progesterone, which is essential for building many of your body’s most important hormones, is also vital in offsetting estrogen dominance, which is one of the most common conditions in perimenopause and hypothyroidism. Application of progesterone cream gives an immediate relief to the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Women in menopause or perimenopause are required to massage about half a teaspoon of progesterone cream into their hands and body. It is advisable to use twice daily for 21 days, to discontinue for 7 days, and repeat the procedure. The cream is required to be massaged on the thighs, stomach, inner arms, and the buttocks. It is recommended that you increase your water intake to avoid dehydration.
Many doctors recommend against prolonged use of progesterone cream after menopause. Short-term use is recommended after menopause, especially when weaning off Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).